Serves deliver Birks Cup to locals

Porfirio Gonzales and Norm Card capture Birks Cup for the Penticton Tennis Club

PORFIRIO GONZALES and Norm Card had reason to smile after they won the Penticton Tennis Club’s Birks Cup men’s doubles championship. The PTC pair defeated a Kelowna team to win.

PORFIRIO GONZALES and Norm Card had reason to smile after they won the Penticton Tennis Club’s Birks Cup men’s doubles championship. The PTC pair defeated a Kelowna team to win.

Stellar serves led tennis players Porfirio Gonzales and Norm Card to a straight set victory over Kelowna’s Rob Algren and Gary Sequin to capture the Birks Cup.

Card loved playing with Gonzales, who he said is amazing and plays at another level.

“He’s played some really good tennis. When he bring his “A” game, it’s pretty hard for anybody in the valley to beat him,” said Card. “It makes my job real easy. If you have two really big serves, it helps you really take charge of the point. I think with Porfirio and I both being such prolific servers, it just allows us to really take charge of a lot of points.”

The duo won 6-3 and 6-1 in the final.

“I think our team, we just had the bigger serves,” said Card. “It allowed us to attack all of our games. The team we played, their serves weren’t as powerful. It allowed us to attack their serve a little more.”

Making the victory sweeter was having a crowd of nearly 70 watching. Card said with the sport being strong in Penticton and many local teams competing, they had a crowd of nearly 70 watching — making their victory sweeter.

“That made it really fun,” he said.

Gonzales and Card represented the Penticton Tennis Club at the prestigious tournament, considered to be the longest running in B.C., dating back to the 1920s.

“It’s always exciting because it’s in your hometown and it’s such a long-running traditional tournament,” said Card of the win. “Everybody wants to do the best they can in it.”

The pair faced Algren and Sequin earlier in the weekend and earned a split so they didn’t know what to expect heading into the championship. Card said they simply had to play at the best level possible.

“We came out firing. It really helped us get through it pretty efficiently,” said Card.

Winning the B division was Vernon’s Ralf Stevens and Morris Vandebasso defeating PTC pair Jamie Johnston and Chad Henderson. PTC pairs also won the C and D division. Taking the C side was Colin Motterhead and Eduardo Penaflor over Bryan Lakosta and Dave Thibeault of Kelowna, while D was won by Mark Petry and Ralf Aggarwal against fellow PTC members Dennis Klat and Yasan Athukorala.

PTC president Ken Naylor said the tournament is returning to its past glory with more teams entering. The Birks Cup features players from all over B.C. as well as Washington State.

“Hopefully next year we’ll have it up to 32 teams,” said Naylor. “During its strongest years there were up to 40 teams and involved renting all the tennis courts in Penticton. It even featured players such as world No. 46 Vasek Pospisil before he entered his professional years.”

This season PTC saw a growth in its membership by 13, to push the total to 225. That growth resulted in the club renting courts on Power Street. Naylor said the only problem with using those courts is there are no lights so they could only have one start time. However, Naylor said it was a good problem.

“Definitely a good sign that tennis continues to grow and that hopefully next year we’ll increase our numbers again,” he said.